Modeling the Exchanges of Energy, Water, and Carbon Between Continents and the Atmosphere

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Science  24 Jan 1997:
Vol. 275, Issue 5299, pp. 502-509
DOI: 10.1126/science.275.5299.502

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Atmospheric general circulation models used for climate simulation and weather forecasting require the fluxes of radiation, heat, water vapor, and momentum across the land-atmosphere interface to be specified. These fluxes are calculated by submodels called land surface parameterizations. Over the last 20 years, these parameterizations have evolved from simple, unrealistic schemes into credible representations of the global soil-vegetation-atmosphere transfer system as advances in plant physiological and hydrological research, advances in satellite data interpretation, and the results of large-scale field experiments have been exploited. Some modern schemes incorporate biogeochemical and ecological knowledge and, when coupled with advanced climate and ocean models, will be capable of modeling the biological and physical responses of the Earth system to global change, for example, increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide.

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